I have been waiting for 'I Don't Want To Kill You' for what feels like forever. I absolutely loved the first two 'John Cleaver'...more7/10 on Book Chick City
I have been waiting for 'I Don't Want To Kill You' for what feels like forever. I absolutely loved the first two 'John Cleaver' novels and just couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of the third and final book in this chilling trilogy. I cracked this baby open with great anticipation.
We meet John only a short time on from where 'Mr Monster' finished and there is another demon in town. This time it's after him. John has killed two of the demons friends and it wants revenge. John spends most of his time anticipating the demons' moves and analysing its motives. While John obsesses over this new demon, there a more murders which he thinks are linked to it, and he also notices there are far too many teenage suicides where he lives and wonder's why.
Unfortunately 'I Don't Want To Kill You' didn't quite meet my expectations. It may be because they were just too high. I was hoping for more internal struggle from John with regards to his desires to kill and his sociopathic tendances. Instead it felt he was just a young kid wanting to solve a murder. There really wasn't that much darkness or intensity, or the mention of John's 'rules' that were so prevalent in 'I Am Not A Serial Killer' and 'Mr Monster'.
I was to see John on the cuspe of finding out whether his serial killer compulsions were his truth or something he could resist. But John's development halted. I also felt that this time there was slightly too much repetition. With 'I Am Not A Serial Killer' the mention of all the activity which went on behind the scenes in his mother's morgue were gruesome, vivid, and gave a certain depth to John and his dark side. It suited his personality at that time. In this book, I felt it had already been done and we really didn't have to go there again. I understood what it meant to John to work there and handle dead bodies I didn't need to be reminded throughout this instalment.
Because of this, I didn't think that John's development as a person moved forward. John's relationships with girls also intensified, but it didn't really seem to bother him that much, even when it begins to get intimate with holding hands, hugging and kissing. The John in 'I Am Not A Serial Killer' and 'Mr Monster' would have been totally freaked out by this. If John was much older I may have seen this as character development, but because these books are all in the span of about a year it just didn't work for me.
Despite my disappointment with some aspects of 'I Don't Want To Kill You' it is still a very good and engaging read in its own right, I just expected more from the last instalment of such a dark and thrilling series. I'm also not sure I'm particularly happy with the ending or think it was fitting for such a complex and dark character as John - I felt it was maybe a little bit predictable, and safe. However, I still enjoyed it and would recommend this series in a heartbeat, as overall it is utterly brilliant! (less)
I began NOCTURNE on Christmas Day and finished it Boxing Day morning. It was a gorgeous read for the festive season, a true romance with a delicious b...moreI began NOCTURNE on Christmas Day and finished it Boxing Day morning. It was a gorgeous read for the festive season, a true romance with a delicious bittersweet ending that brought tears to my eyes.
When Nicole gets caught in a dangerous snow blizzard and veers off the road, a man called Michael comes to her rescue and takes her back to his gorgeous house in the hills of Colorado. Bound by snow falling on all the surrounding roads, it becomes clear that leaving is not an option, which means Nicole and Michael have to spend the next four days together...
Syrie James has a wonderful way with words and very cleverly writes Nicole's realisation about who (or what) Michael really is - skillfully done in my opinion because I believed it. I think it's very difficult for a writer to make the dawning of a mythical creature such as a vampire realistic, but I believed Nicole's thoughts and fears, her disbelief and then of course her acceptance of the truth.
Michael is a great tortured hero, he's also touching and sweet. The descriptions of him physically are subtle and not over the top but give you a sense that this man is handsome and physically scrumptious. His past is frightening and cruel, but it has taken him centuries to become the man that Nicole meets and falls in love with.
Nicole on the other hand irritated me at first with her inability to understand why a man who lives alone and chooses to be a hermit would not feel some resentment or be uncomfortable in her presence. Before her knowledge of who Michael is, Nicole snoops around his home knowing it would upset him but continues to do it anyway. However, after a while I began to warm towards her, she has a certain amount of strength, especially with regards to the ending.
The atmosphere of NOCTURNE is just wonderful. I could feel the bitter winter cold, smell the winter air, see the bright white landscape of newly fallen snow. Ms James does a fantastic job describing the world surrounding Nicole and Michael and I settled down in my soft cosy chair, with the fire on and just melted into the story.
When they both realise that they are falling in love it is very tender and sweet between them. Although there is only one real action scene in the entire book, this didn't bother me at all. The story between Michael and Nicole is enough to drive the story forward and kept me wanting to read the next chapter. There may be a few disappointed HEA fans, but I thought the ending was the only real outcome for these two characters and I liked it.
NOCTURNE is a wonderful read with a beautiful romance that pulls at the heart strings. A must read for any romance fan.(less)
'Blacklands' is a debut crime novel that is very well written and immensely compelling. However, I can't say I enjoyed it as 'Blacklands' is a very bl...more'Blacklands' is a debut crime novel that is very well written and immensely compelling. However, I can't say I enjoyed it as 'Blacklands' is a very bleak novel in its outlook and subject matter.
Steven is a twelve year old boy living in a unloving household with his brother, Davey. Many years ago, before he was born, Steven's mother, Lettie, lost her brother Billy to a serial killer and pedophile. Lettie and her mother (Steven's nan - Mrs Peters) never got to know where Billy's body was buried and this inability to find closure made them very bitter, and to be honest, not very nice people. I didn't like Lettie and Mrs Peters characters at all. I felt no compassion for them as they were just so nasty and spiteful. Although their lives had been filled with pain, I didn't feel any tolerance for their behaviour towards Steven.
After Billy went missing Mrs Peters took out her pain on her daughter and now her daughter takes out her pain on her son. Steven has to deal with this on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I found this to be rather stereotypical characterisation. Everything possible was thrown at this family; a mother bringing up her children without a father; lots of different boyfriend or 'uncles' as Steven calls them; bitter mother, bitter nan and poverty stricken.
Despite Steven's unloving family, who take their unhappiness and frustrations out on him, it's a total surprise how he grew up to be such a loving, caring and empathic child, especially as he didn't have anything remotely caring in his life as he grew up.
As well as having to deal with everything at home Steven also has a horridly selfish and not very nice best friend, Lewis, and is bullied badly at school by three boys he calls 'the hoodies'. To be honest, it's a wonder Steven can gather the will to actually leave his bed in the morning!
Although I liked Steven I did find some of his actions a bit beyond his years. At the age of twelve he decides to write a letter to Arnold Avery, the serial killer who killed his Uncle Billy all those years ago, with the hope he would tell him where his body was buried. The reason is the expectation that his Nan and mother would be so happy they would love him a bit more. His other pasttime is digging up the moors with the hope of finding Uncle Billy's body. He's been doing this for three years. This means he would have started this morbid activity at the age of nine. Really?
It's difficult for me to believe that at nine years of age Steven came to the conclusion that by finding his Uncle Billy's body would make his nan and mother happy and therefore they would love him more. I understand that some children can be astute but I felt that this was taking things a bit too far.
This book is incredibly disheartening and doesn't contain an ounce of hope until the very end. It's bittersweet for me as it only seems to materialise after the serial killer tries to strangle the life out of Steven back on the moors. Steven survives but it's only at this point he receives the slightest bit of warmth from his mother and Nan. Isn't it sad that it had to come to this, with only his possible death the catalyst for love.
The pacing in 'Blacklands' is very good and each chapter drives you forward to read the next. The characters although unlikable, except for Steven, are all very well rounded. The story also jumps about a bit with the thoughts of Arnold Avery, the serial killer remembering past conquests and kills and then his thoughts jumping back to his present. It's a testament to the authors writing skills that I didn't get lost or confused and the story and plot were clear.
Arnold Avery is a very unsavoury character. Hearing his thoughts about the children he abused, raped and murdered made for uncomfortable reading but Ms Bauer wrote with conviction and I felt as though I really was in the mind of a sadistic serial killer and pedophile. His escape from prison and his journey towards Steven was chilling and suspenseful even if the ending was a little anti-climactic.
So, did I enjoy this book - well, not really, but it isn't because of how this book is written, as it's written very well and with a certain amount of accomplishment, but I did find 'Blacklands' to be very depressing and the characters too predictable and a bit cliched, although this may be due to 'Blacklands' being the authors first novel. However, I will definitely be reading the Ms Bauer's next novel, Darkside, published 6th Jan 2011. (less)
'Angels in the Snow' is a sweet, fluffy Christmassy romance with lots of snow and roaring fires. It's really two stories in one about twin brothers. T...more'Angels in the Snow' is a sweet, fluffy Christmassy romance with lots of snow and roaring fires. It's really two stories in one about twin brothers. The first story is about Daniel and Stella, which is the best of the two in my opinion, and Patrick and Hayley.
Although I enjoyed both these stories they were a little too sweet in places, a touch on the corny side and a bit predictable. But it's a quick, easy read that had me curled up on the sofa, snuggled under a warm blanket with snow falling outside my window. It really did enhance my festive mood.
Daniel and Stella are actually a great couple. Two years ago they were engaged to be married but Daniel called it off just a few hours after proposing and two years later Stella returns to her small town in Cumbria. Unfortunately it's Daniel's small town too and she knows she's going to have to meet him again some time, especially as they work in the same hospital. This is where it gets a little predictable. Of course Daniel has to be the gorgeous manly Doctor while Stella is the subservient nurse. It would have been more refreshing if it was the other way around.
When I got to the end of their story it did end a little abruptly. I didn't realise this was actually two separate stories, I thought it was one novel with the two stories entwining. But this isn't the case. When Daniel and Stella's story ended half way through the book it came as a surprise and I felt a little short changed. I didn't meet them again except for one sentence at the end of story two with Patrick and Hayley.
Patrick and Hayley first meet when he flys to Chicago for a job interview. They only have a few days together but it is very memorable for both of them. However, Hayley creeps out of the hotel without saying goodbye and Patrick flys home again thinking it was just a fleeting romance.
Here it gets a bit silly for me. Hayley leaves her job, flys back to the UK to seek Patrick out and while she's searching for him decides to take a housekeeping job, which, surprise, surprise turns out to be Patrick and his family! Hmm.
I couldn't really gel with Patrick and Hayley. They just didn't have the same chemistry as Daniel and Stella and I found Hayley to be particularly annoying. There is lots of jumping to the wrong conclusions, numerous mindless antics, but for me Patrick's son, Alfie stole the show. He is so funny. Maybe a little too mature for a ten year old but still very fun to read.
The author is very good at giving her stories atmosphere though. I would have liked a bit more detail about the town in Cumbria but what descriptive details there were are written well and definitely gave me that Christmas feeling.
'Angels in the Snow' is a light Christmassy read that you don't have to think too much about. It's fun and very festive - a lovely gentle read for this time of year. (less)
Well, what can I say...sensational! 'Last Sacrifice' is the last book in an amazing series, which has, to be honest, left me f...more**May contain spoilers**
Well, what can I say...sensational! 'Last Sacrifice' is the last book in an amazing series, which has, to be honest, left me feeling a little depressed that it's all over. However, Ms Mead gave the ending I had dreamed of. It was emotional, moving, exciting, happy, sad...I loved every word.
'Last Sacrifice' began where 'Spirit Bound' ended with Rose behind bars. She can't quite believe she's in prison and being accused of assassinating the Moroi Queen. Fortunately, Rose gets to see the outside world through her link with Lissa but one day she can't get through - why is Lissa blocking her?
Rose doesn't know that her friends are plotting a plan to break her out of jail, which they do and that's when the fun ride begins. As I found with all the books in the VA series they are emotionally intense, action packed, rollar-coaster reads. 'Last Sacrifice' has it all and it sends you on an adventure with Rose and Dimitri, meeting past characters such as Sonya, Jill and even the evil Victor.
Dimitri tells Rose his only reason for protecting her and leaving Court behind is because Lissa requested it and as he owes Lissa his life, he is indebted to repay her. This hurts Rose, she wants him to want to do it because he loves her, but after his declaration that he doesn't love her any more she makes the decision to bury her feelings for Dimitri and move on, with Adrian.
I didn't know who Rose would choose, Dimitri or Adrian, but of course my heart was saying Dimitri. He's been my favourite since the very beginning and belongs with Rose in my eyes. But sometimes authors surprise you and take you down a different path. I won't give away any details but let's just say Ms Mead weaves a wonderful path that twists and turns and leaves you breathless.
There's a bit of a mystery to solve in this last instalment, as well as the usual wonderfully combined romance and action. Who really killed Queen Tatiana and who is Lissa's half-brother or sister? Rose and Dimitri set off to find out the latter while Rose's friends Lissa, Christian and others stay behind in Court to find out as much as they can about the former and clear Rose's name.
Lissa also has her own path to walk and it's a daunting one. She's nominated herself to be the next Queen and at first it was just to help clear Rose's name. But when she has to go through numerous tests she begins to realise that this is her destiny. The ending to Lissa's story is a beautiful one, with Christian still by her side.
There's also a shock in store when they find out the identity of Queen Tatiana's murderer and there's a moment when that person fire's a gun at Lissa and Rose jumps in front of the bullet...my heart was in my throat as at that point I really didn't know how 'Last Sacrifice' was going to end - was Ms Mead playing with me? Of course she was!!
'Last Sacrifice' has you going back and forth, round and round, never fully knowing how the lives of Rose and Dimitri, Lissa, Christian or Adrian and all the other well loved characters would end. But let me tell you it was a great ending, one definitely worth the wait...
'Last Sacrifice' is the perfect end to a wonderful series. I'm happy with the way things were concluded. This series is one I won't forget and will probably read again in the future. If you haven't read this series yet then all I can say is you are missing out on something very special! (less)
To celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3...moreTo celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3D'.
When I received a request to review 'Avatar: Collector’s Vault 3D' I didn't really know what to expect, but when it arrived all I could say was WOW. This book is gorgeous! It's beautifully packaged in a hard glossy landscape slipcase. The book itself is hardback and contains the same glossy feel and image as the slipcase. It's full of 3D illustrations, which you view through the 3D glasses supplied - these are not the typically flimsy cardboard variety but a very good quality black plastic.
When viewing the images through the glasses the illustrations are really good and they bounce off the page in glorious 3D - the 3D aspect works surprisingly well. There are also many lovely little details which add to the quality of the book, such as profile cards with pictures of the characters, alien species and weapons as well as removable pieces.
This is a gorgeous illustrated book and I would highly recommend it to all Avatar fans. And with Christmas just around the corner, what a fantastic gift! (less)
I gave this book 3/10 on my blog: Book Chick City but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I haven't read that many Richard Laymon, probably about three...moreI gave this book 3/10 on my blog: Book Chick City but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
I haven't read that many Richard Laymon, probably about three or four scattered over years. Luckily though, I knew what to expect - just thirty pages in and I'd already been confronted with two murders, one chopped up and prepared nicely for the freezer, a detailed satanic orgy and repetitive rape.
"Beware!" is not for the faint hearted, if you are easily offended then this book is not for you. It's a brutal psychological horror containing elements of black magic. The main protagonist is Lacey Allen, a small-town reporter who tags along with a few of the other town folk to check out a shop which is thought to be haunted. Unfortunately it does contain something horrific but not of the ghostly kind. Meet Hoffman - a disgusting, repugnant, vile, deeply offensive, monstrous character - can you tell I don't like him...
If you are used to this kind of horror then you may enjoy this bite sized morsel of blood, gore and female violation. Unfortunately, although I'm a fan of bite sized horror, I was tempted to put this one down *or thrown violently across the room* on several occasions.
Hoffman is one of the most abhorrent characters I have ever come across. But then again he's meant to be - he's the unremorseful murderer and rapist, the villan of the piece. But although I knew this, some of his actions and language had my skin crawling and made me feel queasy. He's completely repugnant and sees women as just something to have sex with - a play thing - and when he's done he kills them. He's even done it the other way around and it turned my stomach. I'm no newbie to this kind of horror but this book got to me, big time.
So what kept me reading? For one, I never like giving up on a book, never have and so probably never will. But what I liked about this book was the plot. It's actually quite intriguing and although the characters aren't particularly fully developed the ideas are good. I can't go into too much detail as it will give a lot away *just in case there's a few of you who want to read this book*, but let's just say it's about being invisible - what would you do if nobody could see you? Would you use it for good, or for bad? I'm sure you've guessed by now that this time it was used for bad...very, very, bad.
After killing half of the town-folk, and one dog, Hoffman sets his sights on Lacey. He rapes her repeatedly after which she gets in her car, telling no-one, and drives home. I felt horrible how she was treated by Hoffman but because her character wasn't really well rounded some of her feelings and decisions didn't make sense or were totally unbelievable. One in particular was her relationship with Scott, who she meets when hiding from Hoffman in an out of town hotel.
After only a few days of being raped, with bruises and cuts over her body, including the sensitive places, she still gets turned on when Scott touches her and after knowing each other for only a few days they have sex. I mean, really?? I find it incredibly hard to believe that any woman would want another man near her for months, maybe years, after such an horrorific experience let alone a few days!! *This was one of those times I wanted to throw the book against the nearest wall*
After a few chapters of Scott and Lacey fighting with Hoffman, then running from Hoffman, then fighting with Hoffman...again, Scott decides to bring in Dukane, an old friend who's used to dealing with these kinds of people and situations, as he does it for a living. When he arrives things don't actually get better they just continue. Lots of black magic, abuse, blood and rape. That's about it. Until thankfully, and with a humungous sigh of relief, I finish the last page and close the book.
"Beware!" isn't the best book in Laymon's repertoire, in fact it's probably one of the worst I've read. This book affected me in a way that hasn't happened before - even when I've read Shaun Hutson, who can be just as graphic and sadistic. I love horror, and I love a bit of blood and gore as much as the next person, but what got to me most was the rape and it's this which made "Beware!" just downright distasteful. I can't say I'd recommend this book, because I wouldn't. (less)
This is my first book by Katie MacAlister and I can't say I liked it. I am so disappointed as I'd heard t...more I gave this 3/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
This is my first book by Katie MacAlister and I can't say I liked it. I am so disappointed as I'd heard that MacAlister's books are funny and very entertaining. Sadly, 'Love in the Time of Dragons' was neither. In fact I thought it was pretty terrible. It's not particularly well written and it's not well structured either - it's a mess.
'Love in the Time of Dragons' is very confusing, mainly due to the 'mind time travel' or 'dream sequences' and there are also numerous characters present as well as the two/three main protagonists. The first few chapters were sort of entertaining but it very quickly lost all appeal.
Tully Sullivan is a present day woman learning magic. She's also married to Gareth and a mother to nine year old Brom. A few times a year she goes into a 'fugue' like state and while she lays sleeping for a few weeks, her mind travels back in time to that of Ysolde, a seventeen year old girl.
Most of the time when Tully goes back to Ysolde it's mid page, sometimes mid sentence without warning and I'm left wondering what the hell is going on, who is who and who's saying what!
The only way I could differentiate between the two was the fact that seventeen year old Ysolde and twenty-something Tully are like chalk and cheese, with Ysolde being the more interesting of the two. She has spirit and she's feisty. Tully on the other hand let's her husband call her a "stupid bitch" without as much as a pause in the conversation to slap him one! Although, now I know that this was only added so I would dislike Gareth and therefore certain things could happen between Tully and her real love interest Baltic.
After a while Tully is told that she is the reincarnation of Ysolde and a few more chapters in Tully becomes Ysodle and there are no more 'fugue' episodes. Tully accepts this without question and no further explanation is given.
When Tully learns that Baltic (Ysolde's lover) has also been reincarnated she doesn't remember him, or have any feelings for him. But then things change literally over night. Tully suddenly loves Baltic! Passionately! Which of course means ripping each others clothes off (even though Tully is married I may add). Tully does try and stop all the shenanigans due to the fact she's married but doesn't quite manage it. They may not have sex but they do practically everything else. And because she didn't allow Baltic to have sex she offers to please him as compensation! Isn't that nice of her... although this is also cheating on your husband me thinks!
Baltic is the only character I remotely liked *and it was remote* - he is on the side of Neanderthal but he's quite funny in places, but sadly this is overused and becomes tiresome.
I also felt as though I was dumped mid series. Despite the fact that this is the first in a new spin off from the author's dragon series, I got the feeling that I needed to have read the other books to understand this one a little better. The mention of dragons and powers by the characters was as if they were talking about the weather. I didn't have a clue if their world was known to the world at large or a secret or if the magical world was the actual world. See - confusing! Although, to be honest, there wasn't much world-building at all which is probably why it was so ambiguous.
This book tries to be funny - it fails. The banter between Tully and Baltic is forced and irritating. The romance is non existent and the sexual content left me feeling uncomfortable rather than hot and bothered. Their banter is childish rather than humorous, which towards the end was mostly about Baltic being jealous of the fact that Tully might like to watch a bit of man on man action - it just went on and on...
Also, on a few occasions, Tully's son Brom kept looking at his mother's 'boobs' and then talks about her nipples... well, this just left a bad taste in my mouth. I realise this was during the incessant banter between characters and was meant to be comical, but it just didn't work for me.
'Love in the Time of Dragons' is pretty awful in my opinion with not one really interesting character. The sexual content is cringe-worthy, rather than hot and romantic, and the plot is very confusing and weak. Because of these faults I can't really recommend it.
However, I have heard that some of the authors other books are great and very entertaining, which I hope is true as I already have a couple on my shelf - but I definitely won't be picking up the next book in this series.(less)
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never hav...more Originally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never have imagined putting "zombie" and "romance" in the same sentence. I assumed the putrid decomposition of flesh and the eating of brains would have been a bit of a turn off.
After reading the first page I didn't know whether I would be able to take this book seriously: a zombie romance? And with quotes like these... "My friend 'M' says thie irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can't smile, because your lips have rotted off. "
"None of us are particularly attractive, but death has been kinder to me than some. I'm still in the early stages of decay. ..." ... my lips were twitching with suppressed laughter. But after only a few more pages I wasn't laughing any more, other than from the brilliant intentional dry sense of humour which was scattered throughout the book.
"Warm Bodies" was a total surprise. I didn't expect it to be so heart-warming or to love the hero as much as I did considering he's a brain munching zombie. I knew going in that this was a book about zombie romance, but it's not in the 'paranormal romance' style. It has a bittersweet edge - along side the sweet endearing thoughts of "R" there's lots of wonderfully descriptive detail on zombies eating humans, which was completely disgusting but I loved it all the same. I was right there with "R".
The reader stays inside the mind of "R", the hero of the piece, and I say 'hero' because that's exactly what he is. He does eat people, yes, and he shuffles along with only one thought and that's to munch his way through humanity, but things begin to change for "R" when he meets Julie. Unfortunately their meeting comes at an unfortunate moment, after "R" bites down on the skull of Perry, her boyfriend.
Nobody knows what caused the dead to rise. But "R", who remembers nothing of his former life before becoming one of the living dead, has glimpses of the lives he kills when eating their brains. Memories of his victims flicker by in his mind and he treasures them. But after meeting Julie, and eating Perry, things begin to change.
With each bite of cerebrum, Perry comes alive in "R's" mind and "R" sees Perry's life from childhood until the very moment he dies. He also sees Julie as part of Perry's memories and for some reason when he comes back to reality and sees her crouching and shivering with fright against the wall, he doesn't devour her but instead takes her hand and leads her back to his home.
"R" lives in an aeroplane at an abandoned disused airport with many other zombies, they call their gathering a 'hive'. They are also organised by another creature called the 'Boney's' - they are not nice! The zombies are also hunted by the few remaining humans, one of which is Julie's father. Julie and a few thousand other humans live in a stadium and have done for many years. It's a community where children are born with soldiers protecting the parameters. Not much of a life, but survival all the same.
There's a surprising amount of action in "Warm Bodies" and the story moves at an exciting pace. And when Julie and "R" become friends something miraculous happens and everything starts to transform for zombies and humans alike. The story ends a little ambiguously for my taste, but there's hope and the promise of new beginnings.
I devoured this book and enjoyed it from beginning to end. It's quite somber, but contains delicious bittersweet moments that we can identify with regarding our own humanity and mortality. This book wants to make you think about who we are, what we are and what a gift life is and how we shouldn't take it for granted. As well as lots of brraaaaaaains - nom nom! ;) (less)
When I first approached Leontine with the proposal of a double dare, I was a little nervous. Her taste i...moreOriginally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
When I first approached Leontine with the proposal of a double dare, I was a little nervous. Her taste in romance books is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum to mine, but that’s the reason I wanted to do the double dare with her - to broaden my horizons.
Leontine offered me three choices: LAID BARE by Lauren Dane, A FOSTERED LOVE by Cameron Dane and HOLDING THE CARDS by Joey W Hill.
After having read their synopsis on Goodreads, I decided to go with Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. I cracked this book open with apprehension and knew, just by the first line, that this was going to be an experience!
First line: "Music, raw and hard like sex, pulsed through the speaker stack..."
I will be totally honest, my initial reaction after the first few chapters was “Gaaaahhhhhh” *blushing profusely* “Oh. My. God” *did the author really just use that word* and “Don’t think this book is for me”...
Ms Dane takes no prisoners when it comes to the scorching erotic sex scenes and I found myself squirming uncomfortably on my usually very comfy sofa. I’m more of an old-fashioned romantic and for someone who has never read erotica before, let alone m/m/f, I can honestly say I was truly out of my comfort zone.
I can’t say I got used to all the naughty words, but after a while the characters and their story took over and I found myself completely taken by surprise at how much I enjoyed this book and I gobbled it up in practically one sitting.
The story begins ten years in the past when Erin, a rock chick guitarist, and police officer, Todd, are itching to get to know one another, even though they aren’t each other’s usual type. One night Erin makes the first move and there begins a passionate fling between the two. Erin is completely comfortable with her sexuality and knows what she wants. Todd on the other hand holds back, scared to reveal his secret erotic needs, to the point where he’s too afraid to continue the relationship and they part ways.
Flash forward ten years to the present day and things are very different. Erin is a shadow of her former self due to an incredibly painful experience which continues to haunt her, and the free spirit she once had is gone.
Todd on the other hand has come to accept who he is. After a failed marriage, divorce and change in career, he now knows what he wants and needs. He’s more self-assured, especially in the bedroom, and when he bumps into Erin unexpectedly in the cafe she now owns, he shows it by ravishing her the very same night they meet, and this is where their relationship takes off for the second time.
Laid Bare is chock full of sizzling sex and I did find it a little overwhelming at times. I would have preferred less sex and more story, but with that said, this is a story with many layers, complex emotions and characters that are well-rounded and loveable - especially Todd *hubba bubba*
I really liked the relationship between Erin and Todd. They have a respect for one another that is sweet and I loved that it was so evident especially as their sexual relationship is based on D/s, with Todd being the dominant and Erin the submissive. This side of Todd’s nature begins to grow stronger the more he’s with Erin, he feels alive and totally himself for the first time in his life. And because Erin fully admits to how much she likes him taking control, I was comfortable with this aspect to their relationship.
As Todd and Erin find deeper love and security with each other, they decide to bring Todd’s oldest and dearest friend, Ben, into their bedroom. Although he is introduced at a good pace, I couldn’t get to grips with the introduction of Ben, even though he’s a total hottie. I was so deeply immersed in Todd and Erin’s journey that I felt Ben was an outsider and I was reluctant to let him in. I was hoping he would be just a casual addition to Todd and Erin’s ever growing sexual dynamics, but he wasn’t. Although both Todd and Erin said they loved him, I felt sorry for him - he still felt like the third wheel to me.
But my favourite part of the book was the story of Erin, which touched my heart - what heartache she had to endure. I really enjoyed watching her grow from a scared victim to someone in complete control of her life, and to see her freeness of spirit return was inspiring. I think Ms Dane did a wonderful job at describing Erin’s emotions.
Laid Bare is a story with a happy ever after, but I’m not sure it’s my happy ever after. I continued to struggle with the three-way, constantly worrying about Ben. However, it was a very satisfactory ending where Erin and Todd were concerned, and I read the last word with a contented sigh.
I’m not sure this is a genre I could read in great quantities, but I have definitely had my horizons broadened and I was so taken with Ms Dane’s writing, and now rather intrigued with this genre, that I have bought book two in the Brown Sibling’s series, Coming Undone. (less)
"Scarlett Dedd" is a wonderful book combining story with illustration. It's also full of wit, great teen...moreOriginally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
"Scarlett Dedd" is a wonderful book combining story with illustration. It's also full of wit, great teenage characters and a fun, ghoulish plot.
Scarlett is pretty much ignored at school, but she does have a few friends who share her love of gory horror movies - sometimes they even try and make their own. But a school trip is imminent and she just cant face the dumb comments that she knows she will get from the other kids at school, so she thinks up a plan that would get her out of going: wild mushrooms. Unfortunately these mushrooms do more than just make Scarlett sick, they make her dead. Her family shortly follows her, after eating her deadly mushroom risotto.
The story follows Scarlett as she comes to terms with her demise - there are lots of funny, but also slightly dark moments where Scarlett tries to kill her friends, Rip, Taz, Psycho and JP, so she won't miss them so much and be so lonely. Scarlett also tries to have fun with her new ghostly abilities by scaring her friends silly, which she thinks is hilarious, at first, until she realises that there are extremely unpleasant consequences for coming into contact with the living.
Scarlett is a great character. I loved her funny, snarky humour and her very teenage voice. There are lots of 'it's so not fair!', which brought a nostalgic understanding smile to my face.
The ending to "Scarlett Dedd" wraps things up nicely but the reader is left with Scarlett meeting two new ghost friends...including a very cute boy-ghost! I hope the story continues as I would love to read more about Scarlett's ghost-life.
However, there was one very small aspect to "Scarlett Dedd" which I found a bit distracting and it was how the text was formatted. Most of the time it was readable and it fit in well with the story, but there are a couple of pages where the text swirls round in circles and the only way to read it is to turn the book round with it - this was too much for me and I ended up skipping those particular pages... younger kids may find this a fun aspect to the book, but I didn't... maybe I'm just too old ;)
"Scarlett Dedd" is a really enjoyable book and I appreciated the accompanying drawings by the author, they are a great addition, complimenting the story well and add to the already spooky atmosphere... A perfect read for Halloween! (less)
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I don't usually read books in this genre any more, but I wi...moreI gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City - but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I don't usually read books in this genre any more, but I will always make an exception for Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. I adore Becky Bloomwood. She's a character I find hard not to like with her scatty personality and her inability to walk by a designer store without making a purchase. It was this aspect to Becky's character that made me pick up the first book in this series, The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic, as I could identify well (a bit too well!) with Becky and her retail therapy issues. It also cemented Becky as one of my favourite characters.
Mini Shopaholic is basically in the same format as the other books in the series: Becky using every excuse in the book to keep shopping and up to her elbows in secrets, and fighting to keep those secrets from coming out, but of course everything goes horribly wrong.
In this instalment we see Becky as a mother, raising her two year old daughter, Minnie, who is slightly wayward and becoming too fond of materialistic items like her mummy, with her husband, Luke. Becky is still the same fun, vivid character but motherhood has not helped her become more economical. In fact, she now has excuses to shop more by buying items for Minnie. Some of the scenarios are just so funny they had me giggling out loud. Minnie is cute as a button and Luke is as patient as always.
Becky is also trying to plan a surprise birthday party for Luke, without spending any money...which of course leads to complete fiasco and a book which reads like a screwball comedy. There are many more humourous situations and a strew of events that had me shaking my head with affectionate disbelief at what Becky was saying and doing. There's also the usual great dialogue and prose, which is incredibly smooth making Mini Shopaholic a very easy, fast read.
Mini Shopaholic is a wonderful escape from real life and a total roller coaster ride - this book is never dull, and although it occasionally borders on the ridiculous, I just can't help but love it!
There is nothing new here - we have seen it all before in previous books - but I didn't mind, it was like slipping on a comfy pair of slippers and it felt great. I love Becky Bloomwood with all her manic, self-destructive quirks. Sophie Kinsella is still at the top of her game and for me still the best in the genre.(less)
I have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year f...moreI have now read all three books of the 'Downside Ghosts' series in quick succession and I am so glad I did. I don't think I could have waited a year for each book to be released. I am already having withdrawal symptoms knowing I have to wait until autumn 2011 for book four, it's well...agonising.
This is such a fantastic series. There's enough kick-arse action to keep urban fantasy fans happy, but with the addition of the most heart-wrenching romance between Chess and Terrible, Paranormal Romance fans will be happy too. These books sit very well in both camps.
In this instalment, we see a lot more of Chess in action. Her job as a debunker has her working with an elite group called the Black Squad - the law enforcement of the Church of Real Truth - and she is having to deal with wraiths as well as ghosts and physchopomps. The pace is very fast and keeps the pages turning and I practically breezed through this book without stopping. I love Kane's fluent writing, the descriptions of the fighting and magical scenes are just superb, and I love the explanations of all the magical ingredients Chess needs to cast her spells.
What is slightly different about this instalment is that Chess has to share some of the limelight with another woman, Lauren. In both Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, Chess is pretty much the only female and it is nice to see her interacting with another woman, even if she does hate her. But for me this is just part of the story in this book, it's not a necessity to have other women alongside Chess as she's a big enough character to hold her own, but it was a fresh change.
Chess's drug use takes a bit of a back seat to the action in City of Ghosts. Although she's still popping pills and needing them to get her through her life, it isn't as intense on the reader as it is in the previous books. She also makes a big decision about Lex and Terrible and we see her growing in strength.
After the ending of Unholy Magic, Terrible isn't talking to Chess, in fact he is trying his best to ignore her and is seething with anger at her betrayal. For this reason Terrible is not present for at least the first 160 pages, although he dips in and out, and I really missed him. But what comes is worth the wait...
Things heat up considerably between Chess and Terrible and I LOVED it - Kane has given these two characters amazing dialogue, which has me deeply immersed in their evolving, complex friendship/relationship that when certain scenes *if you know what I mean* occurred I was completely enthralled. My heart raced, my tummy knotted up... so much anguish, sexual tension and passion - just fan-bloody-tastic! Oh...and the ending....it had me in tears!
Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic stayed with me long after I read them and it was no different with City of Ghosts. There's so many layers from the complex characters to the awesome world building of Downside. It's full of witchy magic, action and romance, I literally couldn't put this book down until I had read the very last word. I could go on and on about these books, they are just so brilliant! If you haven't started this series, you MUST! (less)
"Wicked Appetite" has everything I was hoping for from Evanovich: quirky characters, fun plot and a smidgen of romance. This is an incredibly light re...more"Wicked Appetite" has everything I was hoping for from Evanovich: quirky characters, fun plot and a smidgen of romance. This is an incredibly light read but it's entertaining and amusing. I liked the characters, who are all a bit nuts in their own way.
Lizzy is a pastry chef working at Dazzle's Bakery in Salem with friends Glo and Clara. Her life if pretty ordinary until two mystery men enter the bakery a few minutes apart. From here her life changes and she's swooped along on an adventure, which turns out to be quite fun and reveals she has certain abilities of the magical kind.
There's lots of ridiculous antics and rushing from one place to another (which happened a bit too frequently) an interesting magical mystery to solve, but there are a few additions that I didn't like (such as Carl the monkey!).
Everything happens a bit too quickly in "Wicked Appetite", and Lizzy and her friends except everything without as much as a blink. I think the magical element should have been drawn out more for it to be credible and therefore more realistic. I also wish the magic could have been more obvious, it's all a bit too subtle. I really didn't understand the addition of Carl the monkey and because of this I found him irritating instead of funny.
Other than these few points this is a fun book to read and as it's the first book in a series, I will definitely keep a look out for the next instalment.
"Wicked Appetite" is a book filled with fluffy goodness. If you want a light, quick read with elements of the paranormal then this is the book for you. (less)
"Blood & Ice" is quite an original vampire story. It intertwines the past and the present day to give us two stories which run parallel to one ano...more"Blood & Ice" is quite an original vampire story. It intertwines the past and the present day to give us two stories which run parallel to one another. The story of Sinclair and Eleanor in Victorian England and the other of Michael Wilde, present day photographer and journalist, who travels to a remote research station in Antarctica to write a story for a magazine.
I much preferred the present day and found the characters to be interesting. I liked the background to Michael, the main protagonist, who's girlfriend and soulmate is in a coma after a tragic accident while hiking. The author does a terrific job at explaining Michael's feelings and emotions. The other scientists, doctors and workers at the station, especially Darryl the biologist who is a quirky little character, are also an interesting bunch and I enjoyed reading about them.
Masello does a really great job describing the desolate, but spectacular, icy lands of the Antarctic - what an amazing and terrifying place to be. Unfortunately, it is interrupted with that of Victorian England, which although by itself is detailed very well and gives us the story and background of Sinclair and Eleanor, to me it is an unwelcome intrusion and interrupts the flow of the main story. It didn't help me get to know Sinclair or Eleanor in any real depth so seemed rather pointless and offered far too many passages about their surroundings and the wars of the time period.
I didn't really need to know about the Crimea war, which had no real baring on the story at all and could, and should in my opinion, have been omitted. It wouldn't have taken anything away from the main story and in fact would have made the book that much tighter and shorter, and therefore a more enjoyable read.
The summary suggests danger with regards to the two bodies found deep in the freezing cold waters but it couldn't be farther from the truth. There's no real blood sucking, except from a bottle Eleanor and Sinclair carry with them - which isn't very chilling is it. There are a few sections that spice things up when a couple bodies rise after death with the thirst for blood and attack a few people, but on the whole it is pretty tame.
I think that by getting to know Eleanor and Sinclair in the flashbacks, it took away the sinister element of the unknown. I knew they wouldn't hurt anybody from the outset, as they are both very nice people, so I didn't feel any tension when the scientific crew raised their bodies from the icy depths.
"Blood & Ice" is quite a dense book and with just being five pages shy of five hundred, a bit too long. I did enjoy it but I wasn't riveted and it didn't particularly excite me. There are too many passages of descriptive prose that although are well written bored me slightly and my mind drifted to other things on several occasions.
My two favourite aspects to the story are Michael Wilde who is a very interesting character and I really enjoyed learning about him and his sad background. He's a very realistic character as is the beautiful Antarctic landscape around him. Antartica plays such an important role in this book with trying to keep it as original as possible, that it is almost like another character.
The ending is very far fetched and something as complex as finding a "cure" wouldn't happen in a few days. However, the conclusion to each individual character is satisfactory and I closed the book pretty satisfied, albeit with a small "role of the eyes".
"Blood & Ice" held my interest at the same level throughout - it has a monotonicity about it as nothing really happens - there are no real highs or any real lows.
After reading the quote on the front cover, "Stunning... will chill you to the bone" from Lisa Gardner, I was hoping for something a little bit more unnerving and creepy, but instead I didn't find this book chilling, frightening or horrific on any level. It may contain vampires but as we get to know them through the back flashes to the 1800's we realise they are't really menacing at all and therefore no real threat.
However, even with all it's faults "Blood & Ice" certainly isn't a bad book, and I did find myself enjoying it - Michael Wilde and the glorious Antarctic the main reasons - and I would still recommend it. (less)
After reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, r...moreAfter reading and absolutely loving Unholy Ghosts, I was somewhat nervous about reading Unholy Magic. I've been caught out before with a new series, reading and liking the first book only to be disappointed with the second, but thankfully, this was not the case with Unholy Magic. This book is AMAZING and I am totally in love with this series!
Unholy Magic begins roughly where Unholy Ghosts ended. Chess is still working for the Church of Real Truth as a debunker and popping pills, Terrible is still Bumps enforcer and Lex is Chess' new drug of choice.
To me this book is very character driven, which is one of the reasons I love it so much - you may have noticed that my reviews are character driven too - if I don't like the characters then it doesn't matter whether the plot is good or not, I just won't be able to connect with the book. But I didn't have that problem with Unholy Magic. It has two of the best characters I've read in the urban fantasy genre; Chess and Terrible. However, although this book is very much about the characters there is also an engaging storyline.
I really enjoyed reading about the world Kane has created. Downside is very gritty and dark, where drug dealers and gangs rule, prostitutes and pimps sell you their business and ghosts kill. The ghosts in Downside are scary, evil entities and it's Chess' job as a debunker for the Church of Real Truth to make sure that any claims of ghost sightings or hauntings are legitimate. One such case is given to her by an Elder of the Church for a celebrity who claims there's two ghosts in his house. This part of the story, although secondary to the relationships between the characters, is really enjoyable and we get to see Chess fighting ghosts and banishing them, and using her witchy magic.
In Unholy Ghosts, Chess unwillingly helped Lex with a problem he had and because of this she is now getting most of her drugs for free, which enables her to pop as many pills as she likes, and we see her falling into her addiction even further. The thing with Chess is that she enjoys them. She likes blocking out the harsh side of her life, the memories of her past filled with physical and mental abuse, and losing herself in the freedom the pills give her. Chess understands what is happening but doesn't really want to face her addiction and although she is fairly strong and brave in her job as a debunker, in life not so much. If something doesn't go to plan or if she feels letdown by someone then she leans on her drugs - uses them as a replacement for people. However, even though Chess is a drug addict it doesn't prevent her from doing her job - most of the time.
I heart Chess so much - she is flawed and vulnerable and that's what I love about her, but I can also see strength and determination. She cares about people and desperately wants to help them, even if it's at the risk of her own life. I have a feeling we are going to see Chess grow enormously in future books, there's so much scope for her character and I can't wait to find out how she evolves.
We also learn more about Terrible, which shows him in a softer light and makes him even more loveable. Terrible is so endearing he melts my heart, even though I know he has no qualms about killing someone with his bare hands - I know this and Chess knows this, but somehow it just doesn't matter. Terrible reveals quite a bit about his feelings in this instalment. There's a scene between Chess and Terrible that had my heart pounding in my chest, I just couldn't read the pages fast enough to find out what happened next. I won't go any further but let me just say it's heart-wrenching romance at its best.
Lex is still very much in the picture, although he does take a bit of a back-seat to the growing dynamics between Chess and Terrible. But he's growing on me. I'm still not convinced he's trustworthy, but I like him.
I'm also impressed by the street-speak, or as Kane puts it, "Down-speech". I think it takes a very talented writer to pull-off accents, but Kane does just that. It's different to anything I've read before but it gives the gangs of Downside a very distinctive and original flare.
For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end - just perfect.(less)
The Turning' is the first book in the 'Blood Ties' series by Jennifer Armintrout. It's a solid start to a series if a little uneven. It also doesn't r...moreThe Turning' is the first book in the 'Blood Ties' series by Jennifer Armintrout. It's a solid start to a series if a little uneven. It also doesn't really sit within the urban fantasy genre or the paranormal romance genre but somewhere in between in my opinion. Although there are a few gruesome scenes that may be too explicit for PNR fans, especially if they are just after a romance and nothing else.
Carrie Ames is a doctor working in a hospital when a John Doe is pushed through the hospital doors brutally beaten, body mangled and at the point of death. Carrie finds it a difficult case to work on and discovers, to her embarrassment that she just can't deal with it and runs from the ER. Unfortunately, the guy dies and so later in her shift Carrie decides to confront her fears and view the body. Unfortunately, she meets something far worse than a dead body down in the morgue and her life is changed forever.
The hero of the story is a vampire called Nathan who is a very likeable character. He's the 'good' guy and helps Carrie come to terms with her new life. There's also the vampire, Cyrus, the anti-hero who is quite a disturbing character. He's the vampire who 'changed' Carrie and who enjoys killing, torturing and raping fifteen year old girls. It's Carrie's interactions with this particular character which prevented me from connecting with her, as I really didn't understand her attraction towards such a despicable man/vampire.
Because of the 'blood tie', Carrie finds herself drawn to Cyrus physically and if it was just the 'blood tie' I could have let it slide. But unfortunately it wasn't. Carrie was attracted to him even without the blood tie and when seeing visions of him raping a young girl it was hard for me to understand her attraction. Cyrus was just downright disgusting.
Nathan on the other hand is a true hero. Someone who sticks to the rules, who cares and wants to help, but who is also strong, handsome with a hot body to boot. Of course Carrie is attracted to Nathan as well as Cyrus, but I could understand why. The sex scenes are fairly explicit but not overly so, unfortunately there was no love involved with either Nathan or Cyrus.
I found 'The Turning' to be a very easy book to get into and the pace steady, which kept me turning the pages with ease. It has a fairly exciting plot with characters that are vivid and interesting. I did find Carrie to be a little irritating at times as her thoughts chopped and changed constantly, which made it difficult to connect with her. However, I enjoyed it enough that I will definitely continue the series and fortunately have book two already at hand.(less)
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars! Grrrrr
Plague of the Dead is such a fun book - if you...more I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars! Grrrrr
Plague of the Dead is such a fun book - if you can call the downfall of mankind fun, which I can as it's just fiction... This book has all the elements I love in zombie fiction; lots of zombies, great characters and an absorbing storyline.
The writing is very smooth - nice and easy to read, great description and imagination. Recht also uses both types of zombie: the fast '28 Days Later' kind, and the shuffling, slow 'Night of the Living Dead' kind. And there are lots of them, thousands in fact all running and shuffling their way through humanity.
There are many characters in this book and it changes point of view numerous times. Normally this would annoy me but I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see the crumbling world through the eyes of such different people ranging from a soldier and a journalist to a photographer and a doctor.
The other aspect to characterisation I usually have to have is depth, if a character has no back story or substance then I can lose interest pretty quickly, but although the characters in Plague of the Dead weren't written about in any depth, it didn't prevent me from enjoying the book. This is quite unusual, but I felt it was because the story in general is a really fast-paced read and didn't drag. The tension builds as the characters begin to hear snippets of the disease spreading.
I also felt the writing was quite sophisticated compared to other zombie fiction I've read in the past and it was actually very refreshing. There are a lot of the typical tropes found in zombie fiction but Recht was a little different in his approach to his characters, especially the women.
The female protagonists are strong, independent and completely capable of their own survival. At one point they were being tortured for information and one of them refused to give it opting to take the torture instead. I enjoyed reading about them and not once did I roll my eyes in annoyance or frustration.
My only complaint is that as with most horror novels I read I find myself knowing what is about to happen, but I'm like that with movies too, I'm very difficult to surprise. Also, this zombie horror didn't affect me as other books have - there were no nightmares, no skin prickling, but it was still a very good read all the same.
Plague of the Dead is an enjoyable zombie read - I'm looking forward to reading, Thunder & Ashes, the next, and last, instalment in this series - Amazon 1-click, here I come!
Sadly Z. A. Recht passed away Dec 2009 - a great loss to zombie fiction. (less)
I have read and really enjoyed the first couple of books from Ms Davidson's 'Undead' series, so I was looking forward...more5/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
I have read and really enjoyed the first couple of books from Ms Davidson's 'Undead' series, so I was looking forward to reading this werewolf tale. Although it is a fairly fun, quick read, it didn't engage me as much as the 'Undead' books.
The story is an interesting one: a werewolf sent to kill a powerful sorceress who is about to end the world. Derik, the werewolf, is tall, blonde and very good-looking, and Sara, a doctor who doesn't actually know she is a powerful sorceress, is a red head with a feisty personality to match.
At only 200 pages 'Derik's Bane' doesn't go into any real depth. Neither do any of the characters or their relationships between each other. In fact, everything is quite shallow and rather unrealistic. I found it difficult to like the characters and with not much inner dialogue or reflection, it was difficult to get a feeling of who they were. Most of what you learn about Derik and Sara is via dialogue, but as the dialogue is a continuous barrage of snarky retorts, I didn't learn anything about them other than they love to bicker!
There are a few other characters which try to flesh out the novel, however none of the characters have particularly distinct voices due to the fact that they all have the same kind of witticisms as each other, which became quite tedious. I just wanted some 'normal' dialogue!
Although 'Derik's Bane' falls short on many counts, it's still a fairly humourous read, if you can get past the incessant repartee.(less)
Rating 7/10 on the blog, Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!
The Secret Hour is the first book in the 'Midnighters' series and I found it to be q...moreRating 7/10 on the blog, Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!
The Secret Hour is the first book in the 'Midnighters' series and I found it to be quite fun and original. The writing style is smooth and easy to read so I sailed through The Secret Hour quite quickly. The plot is an interesting one involving maths and linguistics in a pretty original way.
Jessica Day has just moved to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago and is trying to fit in at school. After only a few days of being in Bixby, she is confronted by a strange light and when she steps outside the rain that had been falling is frozen and looks like diamonds all around her. From that moment every night at midnight, weird and surreal things happen. She then meets a small group of friends who are all quirky in their own way and seem to have strange abilities.
The group call themselves the "Midnighters" and are the only ones that know of and can enter the secret hour. The twenty-fifth hour of the day where everything else freezes and other things begin to come to life; creepy and sinister Darklings who are trying to kill jessica but nobody can figure out why.
The characters are likeable, although not particularly three-dimentional. They lack a certain amount of depth and felt I didn't really get to know them as much as I would have liked. Other aspects to the story were only touched upon or alluded to and relationships were formed a bit too quickly. But there is some great dry, teenage humour, which I really enjoyed and which had me smiling throughout.
The Secret Hour has a bit of everything; mystery, intrigue, romance and the supernatural and although I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I did 'Uglies', it is definitely an entertaining read. (less)
Helen and Peter Radley have a huge secret they really don't want to tell their children, as they want them to live a normal life as possible - but thi...moreHelen and Peter Radley have a huge secret they really don't want to tell their children, as they want them to live a normal life as possible - but things aren't gong to plan.
Rowan can't sleep at night and thinks it's a bad case of insomnia, he then wants to sleep all day. He's also allergic to the sun and has to apply factor 60 otherwise his skin gets covered in a sore itchy rash. He constantly gets bullied at school and is totally in love with a girl at school who's friends with his sister and is totally out of his league. Basically, Rowan hates his life.
Clara doesn't have the same problems as her brother, but she does have her own. Clara is sick all the time, literally, and her parents keep telling her that she really should eat meat and stop this nonsense of becoming a vegan, but they just don't understand, although she doesn't get why she's so nauseous all the time, but her father, who's a doctor, keeps telling her it's probably just a virus. Animals also hate her, even though she's really nice to them, so she's become an advocate of several 'against animal cruelty' societies and covers her bedroom walls with their posters.
But one fateful night, Clara is feeling worse and worse and then does something that changes her life and those of her family forever. Because of this, Helen and Peter are pressured into telling Clara and Rowan their secret; they are abstaining vampires and haven't tasted blood for seventeen years. In a fit of panic, Peter calls his brother for help, but for some reason calling Will fills Helen with dread, as she has even more secrets of her own, which she doesn't want even Peter to know about.
Helen and Peter's relationship is full of tension and the strain of trying to be normal all the time is taking it's toll. Individually they reminisce about the days they drank human blood and how much they miss it. And when Will flies in to help, things just go from bad to worse.
Over the course of the book, secrets are revealed, lives are turned upside down and The Radleys has an ending that had me completely enthralled.
After reading the first few pages, I was expecting a more humorous story about a family of vampires but instead it's quite a dark tale. There is a slight tongue-in-cheek humour but it's not enough to lighten the book into a comedy. I suppose I assumed it would be something more a long the lines of The Adams Family. I wasn't disappointed, it just wasn't what I expected.
The point of view changes throughout the book to all the different characters, which worked really well. It was great to hear what they were all thinking and feeling, it gave the book depth. All the characters were three-dimentional and I loved them all and had sympathy for them and their predicaments, even Will's (which I won't go into as it's Helen's secret to tell!).
On a bit of a side note: The Radleys is being repackaged by Canongate Walker and is marketed as a young adult novel. However, I feel that this is definitely a YA/Adult crossover, with the emphasis on 'Adult'. This book has a very mature tone, more so than other young adult books I've read and although the press release states it's a "story about growing up, first and foremost", I believe that this is a bit misleading.
The book does tell the story of Clara and Rowan, but it also tells the story of the adult characters, Helen, Peter and Will in equal measure. To me it is about the family as a whole and deals with the fallout of secrets revealed. There's also a significant amount of high-end swearing as well as scenes of a sexual nature that are written, in my opinion, with adults in mind, rather than children, and therefore I would only recommend this book 16+.
The Radleys is a wonderfully written book. It's a fun, original concept I haven't seen anywhere else. The ending wraps things up nicely, but for me I would love a sequel - now the secret is out and all the family is "in-the-know", I can just see the Radleys getting into all sorts of trouble! I really enjoyed this book and I loved the authors writing style, I will definitely be checking out Haig's backlist. (less)
After reading and enjoying Can't Stand the Heat, Louisa Edwards debut novel, I had high expectations for On the Steamy Side. Unfortunately, although t...moreAfter reading and enjoying Can't Stand the Heat, Louisa Edwards debut novel, I had high expectations for On the Steamy Side. Unfortunately, although there were many good aspects to this novel, including the hero, there were aspects that weren't... like the heroine.
The hero in On the Steamy Side is Devon, a self-made millionaire who's a celebrity TV chef with his own show. His TV personality is not unlike our very own Gordon Ramsey - he shouts, he swears and he definitely plays up to the camera! But underneath there's conflict bubbling, inner torment and self-doubt. Devon is not who he seems to be on the outside and most of who he has become is down to his father and their very strained relationship.
At the beginning of the novel we are given a prologue which shows Devon at a much younger age having to deal with an uncaring, unloving father who lavishes his pride on his brother, Connor. This reveals to me all the reasons for Devon's issues of needing to be in control, perfectionism and 'has to be the best' attitude. It was hard for me not to be drawn to Devon.
However, the same can't be said for Lilah Jane, the heroine. Lilah is an over zealous, interfering busy-body. I can completely understand Devon's rage at her meddling with his family's problems, especially only after knowing each other for just a day! Some of the decisions Lilah makes are ludicrous, especially with Tucker, Devon's son, and she comes across as very self-righteous, complaining to Devon about his decisions in life and disagreeing with most of them.
I agree Devon has made some pretty bad choices, but it takes time to build bridges. Lilah's naivety in these matters were quite irritating and I had to grit my teeth through quite a few passages. It seems Lilah's only fault is not taking enough risks in life, which is why she moved to New York City from Virginia. At their first meeting I really liked Lilah's fiery side, but it turned into either that of a petulant, spoilt child or a strict school mistress telling off a child - either way none were particularly appealing or attractive.
The actual romance between Devon and Lilah was somewhat tainted by my constant eye-rolling at Lilah's holier-than-thou attitude, but there were moments of tenderness and moments of heat. The love scenes were fairly tame, with only one being fairly graphic early on in the book, but as usual they were written well. Over time Devon learns to trust Lilah and begins to show his true self.
Apart from Lilah, there are many great characters. Some we meet again, having first meet them in Can't Stand the Heat. My favourite has to be Frankie. Edwards has really captured the Britishness of his character and I always knew it was him when the view point changed. His foul-mouthed use of the English language is exactly how I imagine a London chef to be like. I also enjoyed his relationship with Jess. Being in a gay relationship is no different than a heterosexual one, there's just as much self-doubt and insecurity going on and Frankie just melts my heart. I hope his character continues in future books as I would love to find out what happens to him.
Notable Quotes: "The corn had a caramelised flavour from the grill, and the tender, firm kernels popped in her mouth. Swathed in tangy, spicy mayo with a good citrus kick, one of Lilah's most familiar flavours of summer, sweet corn, turned into her newest addiction."
"She closed her eyes, the better to savour the way the cool, buttery avocado cut the smoky spice of the moist chicken, and when she opened them, Devon was gazing directly at her, a heat that had nothing to do with the spicy food in his stare." Verdict:
Louisa Edwards is very talented at bringing her characters to life. She's also fantastic at describing food and recipes that have your mouth watering and making you wish that some gorgeous man would come and make you dinner right there and then!
Although there were aspects to On the Steamy Side that just didn't gel with me, it was, for the most part, a fun read and certainly hasn't put me off trying Edwards next novel in the 'Recipe for Love' series, Just One Taste. It's just a shame I couldn't connect with the heroine this time round. (less)
My Dangerous Duke is the second book in the 'Inferno Club' series by Gaelen Foley and although I did enjoy this instalment, I much preferred the first...moreMy Dangerous Duke is the second book in the 'Inferno Club' series by Gaelen Foley and although I did enjoy this instalment, I much preferred the first book, My Wicked Marquess.
Kate Madsen is kidnapped and held in a dungeon for five weeks. Her captors are the tenants of Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington, who is an assassin for a secret organisation called the Order, formed to protect our lands from the evil Prometheans. He arrives home to his castle to sort out issues with his staff only to be offered a present to appease him: Kate. Of course he accepts thinking she is a prostitute, but then over the course of the next few chapters realises she is not.
Unfortunately, I didn't connect with the characters in My Dangerous Duke and I feel that the story is a little unbalanced this time around. What I enjoyed most about My Wicked Marquess was the inclusion of great suspense and mystery combined with steamy romance, which was the same format for this book, but I feel My Dangerous Duke leaned a bit too much towards the plot of the Order, and not enough on the romance and my attention did wane a little.
The hero, Rohan Kilburn, is also not particularly my cup of tea, so sadly there was no swooning - and with a romance, I have to swoon, or at least drool a little! I did like Kate though, but only at the beginning of the book. She was shy but feisty and I liked that, but after she got together with Rohan in the carnal sense, Kate changed somewhat. She transformed from a young, shy girl still a virgin to a sultry, sexy woman with all the worldly knowledge of how to arouse a man with just one look, without an ounce of self-consciousness or naivety. It was a bit of a turn around. There are also certain passages that didn't quite sit well with me and occasionally alluded to sex without consent.
Kate is also quite happy to be Rohan's mistress and be paid for the privilege - her reason is she had no choice as there wouldn't be another man out there for her...Their relationship blossomed as I expected it to, but it didn't quite leave me sighing with contentment.
There are some great moments though and a few of the interactions between Kate and Rohan did have my skin tingling a little bit and kept me reading. The adventures Kate and Rohan went on with regards to a so called "curse" on the Kilburn men, was fun to read. The last section of the book was like an Indiana Jones movie!
My Dangerous Duke is a fairly fun read, and I would recommend but with some reservations. It is a good enough book to while away a few hours but I have read better. However, as I enjoyed the first book so much, I will be on the look out for the next book in this series. (less)
Nick Gautier is a fairly normal teenage boy but his life is difficult. His mum's trying to keep them above the bread line by working as an exotic danc...moreNick Gautier is a fairly normal teenage boy but his life is difficult. His mum's trying to keep them above the bread line by working as an exotic dancer, he has to wear second hand clothes at the insistence of his mother, to the joy of the school bullies and his father is in jail for killing 12 people. But for all of this Nick is quite a good boy and loves his mum. Their relationship is a close one and you can feel their love for one another.
But underneath this semi-normal existence there is a part of Nick he is unyet aware of. A darkness he feels fleetingly but doesn't acknowledge. Over the course of Infinity, Nick comes into contact with people and creatures he never thought existed and so to some level comes to understand some of this darkness, but not really how or why it involves him.
There's really two main stories running along side one another. The first is regarding Nick and his destiny, which isn't actually revealed, although we are bombarded with lots of characters who have everything to do with this part of the story. The second is about zombie school kids running riot and the way the zombies are made means they're not actually dead, but created by another kid at school. As the onset of zombie mayhem ensues, Nick and a few others try and find a way to stop the zombies before it gets really out of control.
Infinity is an easy to read book but unfortunately contains far too many characters for a first instalment. I had to keep returning to certain pages to remind myself who so-and-so was, just to keep up with them all. Sometimes the transition from one character to another was not written very smoothly.
There is a revelation in the latter chapters, which grabbed my waining attention, but I'm not going to mention what it is as I think it is meant to have some shock value or at least be a surprise element, but because of the way this book is written, I nearly missed it. I wasn't sure if it was a misprint of a name, but after rereading it a couple of times realisation dawned. Unfortunately the surprise factor was lost amongst the clunky writing.
This book is quite confusing at times. I did understand it but a few passages had to be reread to achieve this level of understanding! I'm wondering how much the adult series is injected into this book. I feel as though I'm missing something and wonder if Kenyon relied too much on the assumption that readers would have read her adult series.
Overall, even with all it's faults, Infinity is quite a fun read and for the most part I enjoyed it. I liked Nicks interactions with his mum and friends. He's quite a sarcastic character and his humour had me smiling a few times. At times the dialogue and thought processes of the characters made me feel that this book would be better suited for the younger end of the YA spectrum but I am interested in seeing where Nick's life is taking him, so I will probably check out the next book.
What Infinity has done though, is heighten my interest in Kenyon's adult novels, which I will most certainly check out.(less)
The Wicked Marquess is the first book in The Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. I haven't read anything by this author before, and have only read a...moreThe Wicked Marquess is the first book in The Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. I haven't read anything by this author before, and have only read a handful of historical romances, so didn't know what do expect. What I got was a delicious, passionate romance combined with intrigue and suspense.
The Inferno Club on the outside is a scandalous club where rich men of society go, and ladies of society do not as it's full of wantonness and depravity. But this is only a disguise of course, for what really lies within is a secret society of warriors who protect the land, and one of these warriors is Max, the Marquess of Rotherstone.
Max is a spy for the secret society behind The Inferno Club and is completely gorgeous. He's protective and dominant on the surface but underneath he's sensitive and caring. He is also in need of a wife to restore his family's name and to do this he needs a virtuous woman.
Max sets his sights on Daphne, who isn't exactly virtuous having declined three proposals, and in polite society this is a big no-no. Max, however, is a bit full of himself at times, and thinks that Daphne will just fall into his arms. Unfortunately for Max, Daphne is afraid to marry, afraid to trust anyone, so when Max sets his sights on marrying her, she just wants to run!
When Max finally does show Daphne a ring, Daphne feels so out of control and trapped she declines his proposal, which obviously comes as a complete shock to Max and his ego!
Since Daphne's mother's death she has been very independent and doesn't get on well with her father's second wife, who wants her wed and out of the house. She fills her time with helping orphans. I did like Daphne, but her hesitancy with regards to Max, which I could completely understand, just went on a tad too long for me and I was almost screaming at her to just marry the man!! ;)
The dialogue between Max and Daphne is witty and smart and I just loved their banter. The descriptive detail about the time period and surroundings was just lovely and added to the entire feel of the novel. I had a clear vision of every scene because of the authors great writing style. The passionate scenes were written very well, and I didn't cringe with embarrassment once *is proud*
I really enjoyed the several sub-plots running alongside the romance between Max and Daphne, which had more to do with the secret society and spies. The one that comes to mind which I especially enjoyed was with Drake, another member of the 'secret society', who was presumed dead, but is actually being held captive. Drake is being tortured for information by another organisation, which he will not give up but sadly at the price of his sanity *poor Drake*. I thought all additional plots gave the book depth and set us up for future books in the series.
Although the next instalment is the story of Rohan, The Duke of Warrington, and a lady named Kate, which I am very much looking forward to, I do hope one of the books in the series will be about Drake and the woman who brings him out of his broken and confused mind... *sigh*
This book is pure escapism and is full of everything you would want from a romance and more - a real keeper in my opinion. Bring on The Dangerous Duke! (less)
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
Dying in the Wool is a delightful book. It's everything I hoped it would be fo...moreI gave this book 7/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!
Dying in the Wool is a delightful book. It's everything I hoped it would be for a cosy mystery. I really enjoyed the authors writing style, it's beautiful and very English. The time is set in the 1920's and the descriptive detail of the countryside and small village of Bridgestead is so vivid I could literally have been there.
Kate Shackleton is a wonderful character and I connected with her immediately. She's a very determined soul in a time when women were still treated as second class citizens. A widow pursuing a great love of photography and solving mysteries.
Kate is sweet and yet assertive, and although trembles internally at conflict, outwardly glows confidence and assurance. Her insecurities warmed me to her and yet I loved the fact she was also strong when she needed to be.
She has also had heart ache in her past, losing her husband to the war, but because his body was never found, cannot truly let herself believe he is dead. I really enjoyed this underlying story. It gives Kate more depth as a character and makes me want to read future books and discover whether her fears or hopes are realised.
However, Dying in the Wool has it's very own mystery to solve with the disappearance of Joshua Braithwaite, and Kate takes on her first professional job when she's hired to find him by her friend, and Braithwaite's daughter, Tabitha.
I found Kate's sleuthing very entertaining, and although at times the story dragged a little, it soon picked up again with a dead body or two! Kate is extremely capable as a private investigator and totally holds her own in such a male dominated society.
The other characters present were all very well rounded and they all had a definite part to play in the unravelling mystery of Joshua Braithwaite. I liked Kate's friend Tabitha and I felt her anguish with regards to her father's disappearance, until that is the last couple of chapters when she turned on Kate quite unexpectedly. Even with Kate nearly being killed herself, Tabitha revoked Kate's invitation to her wedding because she didn't like the outcome. This does not a friend make!
Dying in the Wool is, for the majority, from Kate's first person point of view, but there are a few chapters scattered throughout which are from the third person perspective of other characters, which gives us details of their lives surrounding the time Joshua Braithwaite went missing. I didn't understand why this was done as once the mystery came to it's satisfying conclusion, I didn't see the need for these additional chapters and if they were not included wouldn't have detracted anything from the story.
Also, because Kate was not present, I felt I was given information that even my narrator didn't know about and this didn't seem right for a mystery. If these chapters were not included it would also have made the story a tad shorter, which in my opinion, would have been a welcome edit.
Dying in the Wool is a very gentle book, but with a lot of substance. I loved the 1920s setting, which is described incredibly well. I am very much looking forward to reading the next mystery featuring Kate Shackleton, A Medal for Murder - a review will be coming soon! (less)
I gave this book 7/10 on the blog, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!!
Cursed is the first book in a new werewolf series by David Wellingto...more I gave this book 7/10 on the blog, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!!
Cursed is the first book in a new werewolf series by David Wellington. I have had my eye on this book for what feels like ages so I was thrilled when Piatkus sent me a review copy. And I wasn't disappointed, Cursed is a very good werewolf tale.
We meet Cheyenne Clark, "Chey", out in the wilderness of the Arctic Circle. We're not sure why she's there but she's heading towards something. The first chapter begins with a bang as Chey is violently carried away by a flash flood, but fortunately she walks away alive except for a few cuts and bruises.
After walking for sometime, Chey feels eyes boring into her, and as she realises it's a pack of wolves her only savour is to climb a tree. Suddenly the wolves smell and hear something that frightens them away and Chey looks down to see another wolf staring up at her. But this wolf is different, he's huge with shiny green eyes. The wolf jumps to try and take a bite but can't quite reach her. He does manage to damage her ancle, tearing through to the bone.
After the wolf leaves in frustration, Chey climbs down and walks for days until she finally comes across a strange man called Dzo who at first isn't concerned by the fact that she's freezing, injured and almost starved to death. Eventually he concedes after Chey shows him her bite wound, which is healing somewhat quickly on her ancle. He takes her to a cabin where she meets Powell.
Chey's own particular story unfolds over the course of the book, which is frustrating as well as fun all at the same time - my fault entirely, I'm just too impatient.
Quite a lot of the story is in flashbacks giving the history of Powell and Chey and although it's mostly telling us rather than showing, it was still very absorbing. Chey and Powell both have interesting backgrounds and as Chey's story unfolds, everything builds to a very exciting climax and an ending that was satisfying and had me wanting to read book two.
However, I did have one issue. I found the writing a little repetitive at times and the author's apparent affinity for the word 'though' was very distracting. This was added at the end of almost all of the characters' dialogue. I'm sure it was to give the dialogue a more natural and authentic style, but it just didn't work for me. It bugged me no end! If it was a trait one character had, then I would have let it pass but it didn't matter which character was speaking, it was added anyway. After a while this became more and more noticeable and increasingly irritating.
For me, Cursed is more of an urban fantasy than a horror. I will admit I was expecting something more horrific in nature, more visceral, but the fact that it isn't didn't diminish my enjoyment. The story moves along at a good pace and there aren't many moments where the story dragged.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book and I'm sure both urban fantasy and horror fans would enjoy it. (less)
Confessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romance...moreConfessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romance novels I have read. It's not particularly light reading as I felt there was a slight sombre tone to the book, however, there are a few fun elements and a certain amount of humour injected throughout.
Laura is a widow, a dowager Duchess, who has decided to live on her own with her young daughter in a small rundown cottage in the village of Fortune's Folly. Her husband didn't leave her much money so she is not a wealthy widow, but she's fairly happy and takes pleasure in watching her daughter grow.
Dexter works for the government as a spy and has been following and trying to capture Glory, a highwaywoman who is taking from the rich to give to the poor, Robin Hood style. The identity of the highway woman is revealed to him later in the book, and although it surprised him, I could see it coming a mile away. But the revelation was fun all the same and I really enjoyed this aspect to the novel. Dexter is also penniless and is burdened with providing for his family, so he sets off to Fortune's Folly to try his luck and land a wealthy wife.
There are a few little sub-plots that lighten the tone, such as the introduction of an ancient tax law ordering all unwed ladies to pass on half their fortunes to the owner of the village, which leads to some funny scenarios, but overall I felt as though both Laura and Dexter were full of melancholy. There is quite a lot of sexual tension between Laura and Dexter, having already been lovers years before, and I wanted them to be together, as I knew together they would be much happier.
Unfortunately, Laura has two, very big, life changing secrets that she can't reveal to anybody, especially Dexter and this is what is keeping them apart. Dexter can feel this obstacle between them, but, as a typical clueless male, decides it's because she's a heartless, cold woman, rather than just looking a little deeper. Of course, as the novel progresses these secrets are revealed...
The one major criticism I have with this book is the constant expression of lust. I get that this book is a romance but it is in the thoughts of Dexter incessantly. Every time he saw Laura his thoughts revealed how much he wanted to ravish her and how much he needed her. I get it, Dexter is in lust/love with Laura, I don't need it rammed down my throat, it became tiresome and unfortunately spoilt, what is essentially a very good read, just a little bit.
Overall I enjoyed Confessions of a Duchess. The characters are vivid and, for the most part, believable, the descriptions of the village and lifestyle is described well and I liked the plot and other storylines that ran alongside it. I will certainly be reading the next instalment in 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy, Scandals of an Innocent, I just hope the hero's thoughts are not constantly in the gutter! I would recommend this book to other historical romance readers. (less)
This isn't a run-of-the-mill werewolf book, but a very intelligently written story loosely based on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. This is quite a sp...moreThis isn't a run-of-the-mill werewolf book, but a very intelligently written story loosely based on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. This is quite a special little book, from the depth of emotion felt by the characters to the attention to detail of their lives and surroundings.
I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters, Scarlett, Rosie and Silas. The relationships are quite complex and yet simple at the same time. Simple because they all love each other and would do anything to protect each other, but complex because they love each other in different ways for different reasons and this causes all sorts of complications.
It's not just the relationships between the characters that are complex, but the characters themselves. My favourite is Scarlett who protected her sister from a wolf at the price of disfigurement. Her face and body are full of scars and she wears an eyepatch to hide the fact she has no eye. Her inner pain and anguish over this is palpable and I felt for her so much.
The werewolves in Sisters Red are not pretty or romantic, once turned the soul is ripped from the body to reveal an evil creature with no emotion and no remorse for killing. These are truly sinister werewolves.
There is a wonderful twist during the second half of the book, but unfortunately for me I had my suspicions quite early on, but the realisation of these suspicions was exciting all the same.
The first and last hundred pages were just magic, but sadly the middle lagged a little. The two sisters and their friend Silas move to the big city to hunt and it felt as though that's all they did and it became a bit tedious. However, this didn't deter me from reading the rest of the book and I was soon rewarded with an ending full of emotion combined with life-like fighting scenes that had me completely enthralled and my eyes brimming with tears.
Sisters Red is a fantastic read, with interesting characters and a great plot. This is now one of my favourite young adult books. And of course I have to mention the amazing cover - gorg! ;) (less)
Secrets of a Summer Night is the first book in 'the Wallflowers' series, and being a newbie to the genre, the first book I've read by Lisa Kleypas. I...moreSecrets of a Summer Night is the first book in 'the Wallflowers' series, and being a newbie to the genre, the first book I've read by Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoyed the story and Kleypas's writing style. The characters are realistic, the writing lovely and the story had my full attention until the very end, where I sighed in contentment.
This is an historical romance and is written in vivid detail. I was immersed in the time period of the 1840's and London society. The time period shows women in a very different light than today's woman. Women then always had to be chaperoned when in the company of a man, otherwise it was seen as scandalous and the gentleman had to propose to put things right. And women had to find a suitable husband before they hit twenty-five, otherwise they were seen as spinsters, passed their 'sell by date' so to speak. Sometimes I found society's dictations hard to swallow as a twenty-first century chick, but it just made the story more compelling.
Annabel is the heroine in this instalment of 'the Wallflower's' and needs a husband quick as her family's wealth is diminishing. She's also in her early twenties and will soon be seen as an old dried up maid if she doesn't wed soon. But Annabel and her three friends, Lillian, Daisy and Evie, have a plan! Unfortunately, things don't really go to plan when the utterly delicious, Simon Hunt, keeps coming onto the scene!
Simon Hunt is completely gorgeous and just enough of a rogue to make your toes curl - in a good way. He's charming, good-looking, rich... what's not to love? Well, he wants Annabel, but not as a wife but rather as his mistress. Of course, his feelings do change as the story progresses.
Annabel is a great character who's bright and generally sweet in nature. Completely loyal to her family and finds it difficult to see her mother being used by a wealthy aristocrat just to keep them above the bread line. However, sometimes I found her to be quite frustrating with regards to her attitude towards Mr Simon Hunt. Simon wasn't born into a titled family and made his fortune by other means. Society looks down on this kind of entrepreneurial way of living, and so Annabel treats him with disdain. This isn't really the fault of Annabel, just societies restrictions. It takes her a while, but eventually she is drawn to his charms.
The love scenes are passionate but tame with regards to detail. The only scene I found myself cringing slightly was one where Annabel and Simon were in a passionate embrace and Simon's thoughts were continuously emphasising how naive and inexperienced Annabel was, which I thought detracted from the passion and I also felt slightly embarrassed for Annabel.
All the characters are so well rounded and I loved the dialogue between them. I really enjoyed the witty, restrained, banter between Annabel and Simon, and the secret plotting of the self-proclaimed 'wallflowers' to catch a husband.
Secrets of a Summer Night is a wonderful book. I loved the characters, the romance and the detail given to the time period. And because of this book I have now bought several titles by Kleypas, which I can't wait to read!! I am also really looking forward to the next book in 'the Wallflowers' series, It Happened One Autumn, the story of Lillian. (less)